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September 16. 2013 9:49PM

At Pinkerton Academy in Derry, forget saying the dog ate your homework

DERRY — Pinkerton Academy students are running out of excuses this academic year for why their homework isn’t done on time.

Administrators are launching Directed Study Hall, a new program that allows students to catch up on missed homework assignments while they are still in school. Students will also learn the skills necessary to stay organized and keep up with future homework, Dean of Student Affairs Chris Harper said.

“The whole premise is to provide students with the time they need to do their work,” Harper said. “It’s not a punishment.”

Students who fall behind and haven’t completed at least five assignments will be eligible for the program. They will eat their lunch in a quiet area while working on missed assignments, Harper said.

“If it was a perfect world we wouldn’t need the program; but it isn’t a perfect world and we know there are students who can benefit from this program,” Harper said.

Administrators noted many students who were failing weren’t completing their homework, he said.
“It appeared they weren’t doing their homework, not learning the concepts outside of class and therefore failing class,” Harper said.
The students selected for Directed Study Hall will participate in the program for a minimum of two weeks. They will be able to leave the program if they complete the missed assignments and catch up on their current assignments, Harper said.

Students would need their parents’ consent to participate in the program and would sign a contract. The contract outlines the reasons why they are in the program and what is expected of them, Harper said.

Plans call for the program to run over three lunch periods, with eight students participating per period, Harper said.

“The hope is by providing them the time to do the work, they’ll not only do the work but learn the organizational skills necessary so they don’t come back to the program,” Harper said.

Administrators are finalizing the details of the contract and hope to hire someone who is highly qualified to administer the program soon, Harper said.

Only sophomores will be participating in the pilot program for now, Harper said.

Many other high schools across the country are using the Directed Study Hall approach, Harper said. Pinkerton administrators used information from these programs in helping craft the program.

hmcgee@newstote.com


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